Community Empowerment?

So after the ECMC (thanks again to this amazing Bremen crew organizing!) I am signing up leaving a note about something not so nice that happened on the ceremony evening, and would like to see how this reflects inside the community.

Here is the story, trying to make it short:

Just after the ceremony groups dispersed and a younger courier from a younger collective company came into talks with some older swiss courier.

Putting aside on how harmless this conversation started, this older courier was, and without any humour or respect, downtalking the other from a very high point, pulling all things on his side: years of experience, being part of a long established (not worker-owned) swiss company and knowledge points inside the community.

The other took it quite ok, but there was high chances this downtalk could only be hurting, demotivating and discouraging. I have no clue why, but this is not the first time I see this sort of behaviour from people who are in the biz since ages, while other "elders" are some of the nicest people I've ever known, being very supportive and all what I think should be the case.

I think with the sort of community we have, having more experience should be a position of power to help and be empowering, not trying to put "rookies" (which wasn't even the case here, we're talking about sb who worked in over 4 companies already) down and "manspread" with their arrogant balls of sheer existence.

I'd really like to see how people see this and hope I'll find some backing of my opinion here. Thanks for your thoughts.


  • Pretty sure no one down talks people. Just the times have changed and a lot of young people want to invent the wheels all over again, which also creates a weird feeling with older messengers, feeling that we have no valid talking points anymore. Which is also not motivate us to be a part a setting up new things.
    All new ideas are welcome, but there is no harm i learning from older ideas and things that simply worked.
    In general in the world the young people feel empowered to talk old people down on their age and their thoughts. Even when older people feel like they have evolved,sometimes its still not fast enough for the young people to also listen to older standpoints.
    I am 43 and are seen as older. What am i supposed to do with this? Just want to be involved and help the younger guys on their way. They can always evolve too. So far after three years the new Amsterdam people go kind of the right way but it also took a lot of ups and downs. But i cannot say that i did not present them almost a complete simple plan to work together. But it needed to become more complicated and much of their plan just blew up and had to start all over again but as differerent companies and pulling back to this one older company for actual work.
    So there you go. We have bragging rights. But try not to see anything as talking down. Its too much about form nowadays, try to listen to the words instead.
  • Jerome_CROW
    edited June 2022
    Uhhf, I feel not listened here. Ok to make it clear, it WAS downtalk. It was " i don't know you, so nobody knows you, nobody knows the company you ride for and with under 5yrs of experience no courier should open their blabbering mouths". That sort of thing, an I think none of this is acceptable tbh.

    I understand what you're saying but the situation you're reading out there is not what happened. And being "pretty sure nobody talks down ppl" is just not true.

    And seriously bragging rights, not sure bout that. Yes, some people are doing shitloads for the community and it will hopefully be acknowledged and appreciated. Others do shitloads too and they won't be seen.

    Sharing experience and being seen in there belongs to it, but there was none done here.

    But especially not knowing someone and attacking them like that, I find nothing in there that could be only close to what you said would be within elder couriers rights.

    This is only how you drive little more insecure people away, closing what people strive to open, shutting doors for those with less "bigger balls". It's destructive and the only point why I wanted to post it here.
  • Hell yeah. Big up to Jerome for bringing up this topic. Let's be warm and welcoming to those who are new, shall we?

    Another smaller incident that I'm thinking of is when Axel from Helsinki was pressured to jump in his raffled cargo bag. I did not think about it at the time but I later learned that this wasn't an entirely positive experience for someone who is attending their first championship and their first Open Forum.

    Let's not forget that our jargon, even if we mean things with lots of love and respect, can sometimes be quite brute and unpleasant to someone who is completely new and don't know anybody.
  • daveyoha
    edited June 2022
    Some good take always here:

    We all have different opinions and should endeavor to respect differing opinions, as long as they are neither hateful or harmful.

    The courier community has a long history of hazing new people or “rookies” and this is a slippery slope, were the boundaries of safe space need to be considered.

    We should all work to refrain from being dismissive to others within the community based on orientation, experience or other identifying factors.

    Constrictive conversation about difference of opinion should be encouraged but insulting or belittling others because of one’s opinions, perspective or experience (or perceived lack thereof) should not be blindly tolerated.

    In some way shape or form, these are things we should all continue to be mindful of, no one is prefect but we call all continue to grow and improve ourselves. Myself included just the same as everyone else.

    Your friend,
    Dave Yoha.
  • I think i get all this.
    But i personally feel more and more unwelcome in this community. Even though i try to do my best. But if things we once found funny and harmless become a problem, then there is just slippery slopes going all sides including us from the loud and comedic side of things.
    Basically we have to be mindful of all the stupid stuff we did to ourselves and our friends back a while ago. It just seems not accepted anymore.
    I have a hard time feeling welcome back. Even Though i have been involved with the new people in Amsterdam, giving them advice and also let many things go that where clear they could and would take care of themselves.
    Also my bike shop was open to everyone and especially some people who felt not taken serious at other shops chose ours because they felt safe there. It fell apart during covid.
    So i do not feel very welcome. There are probably a lot of people in the community who have dirt on me because i made huge mistakes. It also seems it will not be forgiven even when i spend the last 10 years making working on myself and getting better. But it never seems enough. So i spend most of my downtime during the event with people who i feel like to be family to me from Bike Syndikat. And missed most of the parties and other people i liked to see.
    I can only speak for myself. And how we can all solve this is not at all up to me. But i hope the old messengers can stay part of this group and learn some new things but please we also like to be allowed to stay weird ourselves and have not weigh every word we say.
  • Hey Fish, I see how you feel and that is certainly sad, too. Just to make this clear, I am not trying to diss any of the elder couriers and the "old hands" - in quite the opposite! I think all these events are based on the ground work all of you have been doing for so long and that is great and I hope younger people see and appreciate that!

    I think and hope it was visible how the influence and experience from all those people including you is there and this is worth a damn lot!

    But yeah, on the other hand, times change and I think many of these changes are either necessary and/or good. Some things have changed in the industry in itself, big companies have flooded the market so the urge to survive is bigger, but also the community grows and welcomes more people when being a bit more careful about how we handle each other.

    I get that sometimes these changes feel hard when a situation gets stressed now that has never been a problem before, but we're all humans and I think we should treat each other based on this immense work that has been done from smaller and often discriminated minorities, just like the foundations the old hands have built up the courier community with. And yeah, a community opening up to more people who previously wouldn't have felt safe to join will automatically have to keep this space of mutual respect open and stabilise new rules.

    Personally I really love the events and also the companies becoming a lot more diverse and less stamped by this elbow behaviour of which we have enough in society already. Thanks Josef and Dave also for your comments!
  • I think it comes from both sides. We always have been inclusive. I am all about progression. But if anyone wants to be inclusive, you also have to include the old weird ones and their ways. There is of course a limit. But many limits are pushed upon us as well now. You want us to behave in a certain way and we just want to behave like we feel like. Not to hurt anyone, but it does not get allowed anymore. We never pushed elbows. Some people went over the linee through the years, for sure. But in most cases we did not push elbows. We partied together and became that family. We did not need to push our own things out there. We just had fun and nobody cared. And if things got out of hand we handled it. Sooner or later. We are actually nice. But if the young people push their elbows, we will have to as well. And that creates division we do not like and never backed. Just be yourself. Behave how you want in this community. Keep doing that, and people will follow. Let the change happen. Give it time. But also offer that old ear to people who cross your line. Or just ignore it for a while. And hang with your own group. Opinions and feelings are still a right to have. And so if you choose so, you can also absord those opinions even when you do not agree. That is what discussions are all about. Not that i am any good at that... Its just very depressing that we feel we have been inclusive, but are seen like we are the demise of the new age or something. We got here because we were not common. And now we are here in our own world, again not common. Hope you get that. I had many times i wanted to quit, and i did. But always coming back, just now its just harder to find the drive to actually do it again. From all sides we became ego's instead of that group of don't give a fucks and still, if you feel at home, ride alongs. We feel blamed for things we do not understand are pushed upon us. That is what i gather. I know i do.
    But keep on doing it. You are welcome. Just if you expect us to grow towards you, then also grow towards us. Personally i think its better to put in energy on getting to know new and old people and try to make something of new work, new races and new events. While still everyone is welcome without hurt feelings or need for activism.
  • I'm going to jump in here and remind everybody about women who get a lot of shit in the courier industry. Even if they're working for a long time or not, there's no reason to be a jerk :)
  • @claire. You are totally right. Its good to open a new thread on that. You and anyone can start new threads to keep discussions categorized and easy to track. Actually there is a subforum called 'Awaremess Budapest' where this thread and also the one i hope you will start can fall under. Then it easy to track for the next ECMC open forum. No one wants to cut you short on this forum. So i hope you start a new thread and share your experiences. Or go on here if you think it has to do with the discussion.
  • quote:
    June 7
    Hell yeah. Big up to Jerome for bringing up this topic. Let's be warm and welcoming to those who are new, shall we?

    Another smaller incident that I'm thinking of is when Axel from Helsinki was pressured to jump in his raffled cargo bag. I did not think about it at the time but I later learned that this wasn't an entirely positive experience for someone who is attending their first championship and their first Open Forum.

    Let's not forget that our jargon, even if we mean things with lots of love and respect, can sometimes be quite brute and unpleasant to someone who is completely new and don't know anybody.

    good point and interesting perspective as i was one of the loud people who pressed him into this situation. in that moment i was lead by the idea/image i had in mind .. he does our sponsors a favour and delivers a stereotypical promo picture!
    excuse me axel for being a brute pr-officer! if no one's says no i go.. fair and direct, what feels brute for some.
  • Hey Fish, would just add some on your last post as I've got the feeling you felt personally offended here. So just to make this clear - pointing out negatively experienced incidents means for me to raise awareness, not throwing guilt over anyone falling under the same "category".

    I don't think it's necessary to open up this "we" and "you" thing (btw I am turning 40 next year, I am just not that "old" in the courier community) - and also I wish my criticism not be received as a general critique on people being weirdos. In the opposite, it's what many feel attracted to and what actually opens up space for other people who feel outside as weird in other places, but can feel welcome here, among others being weird <3

    All this doesn't negate shit experiences from people who are either minorities or rookies within this community and I think it is important to point that out and rather "support than stigma", taking it with BSC words...
  • jamesey
    edited June 2022
    Hello from Glasgow, sending love and kindest regards to all. If this 'conversation' was overheard post prize giving ceremony then I'd wager that both parties were inebriated somewhat Jerome? Whilst this doesn't excuse any shitty behaviour, it does put it more into context. Dear Fish, you are way to hard on yourself pal, don't be. So many in the community still hold you in the highest esteem because of all of the time and energy that you've continually contributed to the messenger collective, on a local and international level.
  • Personally, over the years, I've been forgiven for so much shitty behaviour that I feel like I learned not to do it anymore; it's forgiveness that changes folks destructive behaviour patterns most positively. The old Swiss guy probably doesn't remember too much.
  • To conclude, i believe that if anyone ever offends anybody else in our small community, either directly (shit talking) or indirectly (overhead conversation etc), then perhaps we need some new guidelines regarding an accountability process that could be put in place and exacted after everyone has finished partying and sobered up, and perhaps these guidelines could be offered by those members of our community who are actively organising for equality in our community and in wider society in general?
    Pulling people whose behaviour causes concerns closer and not pushing them away has to be done carefully, also with compassion and kindness; forgiveness being key.
  • NYC is nothing but dudes butting heads. They don’t give a F about what city you came from and they sure as hell don’t want to hear that you started working there, dudes just walk away mid conversation. It’s the older heads that took me in, just as it was the old guys in DC.
    The most important thing is loving yourself, which extends to love of this job.
    Two couriers are not always going to see eye to eye. different cities, different countries, different economies, some localities didn’t have cycle couriers companies until 4-6 years ago…
    Being in the music industry I’ve seen the same BS..
    VIS/FISH thank you for your insight but don’t be hard on yourself mate you are the rock of the XXX…
    good discussion…
    I love meeting couriers from around the world, non stop fascination. Delivering so much random sh*t.
    Crazy time right now, a lot of vacant office space downtown ever since the covid19. Respect for everyone even those that do not return respect.
    - PJ, Wash DC
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